How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Wetumpka Alabama
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Wetumpka AL is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, many potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Wetumpka AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Wetumpka AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Wetumpka AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Wetumpka AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Courses
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Wetumpka AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Wetumpka AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with some Wetumpka AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Wetumpka AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Wetumpka AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the final college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Wetumpka AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Wetumpka AL medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Choose the Best Wetumpka Phlebotomist Program
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Wetumpka Alabama.